Moving to Dubai but not sure which neighbourhood to set up shop in? We’ve got you covered.
The glittering metropolis of Dubai is popular with expats from all over the world, and it’s not surprising when you consider all that this playground in the sun has to offer.
Incredible beaches, attractive pay packages and excellent employment prospects, sensational shopping and world class restaurants, blissfully warm and sunny weather, luxurious golf courses, lively nightlife, and fantastic expat communities are just some of the charms that lure Brits to decadent Dubai.
Tempted to join them? Then you’ll need to find the right neighbourhood to call home.
Read on for our guide to the best neighbourhoods to live in Dubai…
Jumeirah Beach is about as glitzy as it gets, and is one of the most sought-after areas of Dubai among expats.
Strolling along the 1.7 kilometre long, palm fringed seafront with its opulent residential developments and hotels — or sauntering round the impressive Dubai Marina filled with luxury yachts — you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in LA.
The stunning beach is, of course, a major attraction here, but there are plenty of other ways to indulge yourself and have fun in this neighbourhood.
Living here means you will have some of the very best bars, nightclubs, boutiques, lifestyle malls, and restaurants in Dubai right on your doorstep, although it’s worth noting that traffic can get busy in the evenings.
Jumeirah Beach is a great area for anyone, but particularly younger professionals who like to party. Accommodations are luxurious, but apartments with sea views can be expensive.
Most have communal swimming pools and gyms for the use of residents.
A room in a shared apartment in this area costs around £1000 per month, with private studio apartments costing upwards of £12500 per year, and 2 bedroom apartments coming in at around £19000 per year or more.
This man made, palm tree shaped island in the Arabian gulf just off the Dubai coast is ideal for expats who love the sea and a luxury resort lifestyle.
Many apartments here have direct beach access, and at the top end of the property market are opulent villas with their very own private access to the beach.
Some of the best hotels, bars and restaurants in the Arab Emirates can be found on the island, so if you’ve got the cash to flash it’s the perfect place to indulge your gastronomic desires or wind down watching the sunset with a cocktail in hand.
This is a relatively calm, laid back neighbourhood which appeals particularly to couples and families, who love the green spaces, proximity to the beach, and the activities on offer including yachting and speedboats, swimming and diving, and even skydiving.
Access to the mainland by public transport is easy, but it’s recommended to have your own vehicle for getting around the island itself.
As you would expect from such a glamorous location, rental prices are steep on Palm Jumeirah, although fortunately prices have recently seen a significant drop. Apartment prices start at around 64000 AED (£13200) per year for a studio or room share and go up to 220000 AED (£45400) per year for a 3 bed apartment with a sea view. Private villas cost considerably more.
View this post on Instagram
This Brit friendly gated community in the desert just outside of Dubai comprises 24 quiet and safe residential neighbourhoods in a natural and unspoiled setting.
Popular with families and couples, the quality of rental accommodation at Arabian Ranches is extremely high, and expat residents have a wealth of local activities to choose from, including lovely scenic walks, communal parks and gardens with barbecues and play areas, swimming pools and gyms, tennis and basketball courts, equestrian pursuits, regular community activities such as fêtes and sports clubs, and world class golf facilities — it’s even pet friendly with villas having good sized gardens suitable for dogs and cats as well as children.
Everything you could need is within the community walls — supermarkets and street markets, restaurants, and even an English speaking school — plus it’s just a short hop to all that Dubai city has to offer, although you’ll need a car in order to commute as the area is not currently connected to the Dubai Metro.
The ultra modern, spacious villas have been designed in a European / Arabic style, and yearly rentals are in the range of 175000 AED (approximately £36000) for a 3 bedroom villa, to 270000 AED (£55000) for a villa with 5 bedrooms.
This is also the most popular place in Dubai for buying a property, although be prepared to pay steep prices as even a 3 bedroom villa will set you back at least 3100000 AED (£640000).
Hip and happening Downtown Dubai is home to high flyers and fun lovers from all over the world, and is very popular with Brits.
Downtown offers sophisticated apartment living in a buzzing neighbourhood in amongst high rise offices and 5 star hotels, with luxurious restaurants and shopping malls (including the world famous Dubai Mall), fabulous bars, and a whole host of other attractions and activities.
This is an exciting place to live, and ultra modern accommodations offer cutting edge facilities, beautiful swimming pools, and sensational views across the city and the nearby Burj Khalifa — the tallest building in the world.
It’s also an incredibly well maintained, clean place to live, and being so well placed gives residents quick, easy access to the entire city.
This is a neighbourhood particularly popular with high earning young professional singles and couples, although there’s so much to see and do here that it remains a popular choice for all kinds of expat.
If you love fine dining, upscale chic, shopping, and a cosmopolitan party atmosphere, Downtown Dubai may just be a perfect fit for you.
So how much does it cost to live in such a desirable area? There are a range of accommodations available, from cool studio apartments costing 75000 AED (£15500) to rent per year, to lavish 4 bedroom apartments in the sky high Burj Khalifa building with yearly rental prices rocketing all the way up to 800000 AED (£165000).
Filled with lush landscaped gardens, refreshing pools, lakes, streams, and fountains, and packed with tropical plants and trees — all of which make up around 60% of the total area — the gated community of Al Barari is one of Dubai’s greenest neighbourhoods — and nothing short of a mini paradise.
This relatively small community currently only comprises of around 200 exclusive villas and apartments, the majority of which are rented or owned by expats or high profile residents.
It’s a great location for families, and although there are currently no schools in the neighbourhood, plans are in place to construct a school, medical facilities, and shopping malls.
Al Barari is home to an environmentally conscious community with a focus on sustainability and living in harmony with nature, and it’s the perfect place to relax and unwind.
Amenities available to residents include a luxury spa and wellness centre, a theatre, a yoga and health club, tennis courts and swimming pools, and an award winning restaurant serving Healthy, organic world class cuisine.
Energy efficient villas are powered by solar panels, and incorporate organic waste recycling facilities for minimal environmental impact.
They also boast features such as courtyards, plunge pools, roof terraces, landscaped gardens, and decadent interiors.
Rental prices for a 4 bedroom villa start at around 475000 AED (£100000) and for a 6 bedroom villa expect to pay upwards of 650000 AED (£134000) per year.
Glittering skyscrapers soar up into the sky around glitzy Dubai Marina — one of Dubai’s hottest neighbourhoods.
Not only is the spectacular waterfront tantalisingly close the the beach, it is also bursting with chic cafés, fast food restaurants and fine dining locations, bars and nightclubs, shopping malls, fountains, spas, and more — and all with sensational views of the emerald waters of the Arabian Gulf.
Explore the area on two wheels by hiring a bicycle, take a cruise on a luxury yacht, or just enjoy it all at a relaxed pace by simply strolling along the promenade.
Expats love this location for its vibrant atmosphere and multitude of entertainment options, plus its proximity to the beach where there are watersports aplenty, and the excellent metro connections to the rest of the city.
This is arguably the most popular neighbourhood in the city, and Dubai Marina attracts people from all walks of life, from young singles to families, although it’s worth bearing in mind that there are no schools in the immediate area, and traffic can be congested at times.
However there are accommodation options to suit everyone, and tower apartments come with a ton of luxury amenities such as pools, gyms, spas, garden areas and more, with prices to suit all budgets.
Yearly rental costs for a spacious studio apartment start at around 65000 AED (£13500), but if you need more space, 2 bedroom apartments cost around 140000 AED on average per year. (£29000).
The neighbourhoods dotted alongside Dubai Creek are the heart and soul of Dubai as we know it.
Known collectively as Old Dubai, this area is brimming with character and old world charm, and is distinctly different from the gleaming skyscrapers and unashamed decadence of the new city.
Rental prices are much cheaper here, and it’s a popular area with families, singles, and couples alike. Whilst the accommodation here may not be as luxurious as that in the inner city and rather more lacking in fancy amenities, it offers great value for money, and the different areas alongside the creek still have plenty of entertainments to offer expats.
The Deira area is rich in culture and history, but still boasts 5 star hotels, shopping malls, and excellent restaurants, whilst Garhoud is party central.
There’s a budding arts scene over in Karama, as well as delicious seafood, and in Bur Dubai the action takes place in the atmospheric souks, fresh food markets, art galleries, and museums.
Rental accommodation tends to be in apartment blocks, with the exception of Garhoud, where it’s possible to rent a 4 bedroom villa for around 300000 AED (£62000) per year. Elsewhere in the Old Dubai neighbourhood the average yearly rental price of a 2 bedroom apartment comes in at around 100000 AED (£20500).
Recently rated as the most popular neighbourhood in Dubai to rent a villa, Mirdif is a calm and safe suburb ideal for families, is much loved by expats, and has a strong sense of community as many people living here have settled long term.
There are an abundance of local activities throughout the year, and a lively expat community.
Situated close to the airport, Mirdif is refreshingly free from tourists, and the rental prices for both apartments and villas is surprisingly affordable — without compromising on quality and space.
The villas are particularly popular as they each tend to have a unique style, with some also having features such as large landscaped gardens or private pools.
There are both larger and smaller supermarkets here, in addition to a hospital and medical centres, plus a choice of international schools for expat kids which follow a UK curriculum.
If you’re worried about missing out on your shopping fix — there’s no need. Amongst others, the huge City Centre Mirdif mall is crammed with fantastic boutiques, a state of the art cinema, restaurants, and oodles of other entertainments.
There are a good choice of restaurants and cafés, and the sizeable Mirdif park is a tranquil green space with plenty of walks to explore, play areas for children, barbecue facilities, and picnic areas.
As of yet Mirdif doesn’t have a metro station, so having your own transport is advised if you need to commute.
A studio apartment here costs around 55000 AED (£11500) per year to rent, and a family sized 3 bedroom villa only 130000 AED (£27000) on average per year.
Located in western Dubai, Al Quoz is a unique neighbourhood that differs greatly from its glitzy inner city cousins.
Away from the glittering high rise towers, this is an industrial / residential area which is a little more gritty, but not without considerable charms.
In recent years it has taken on a bohemian vibe, and now attracts creative types from all over the globe, and is well known for its many art galleries and particularly Alserkel Avenue — a strip packed with not just galleries of painting, sculpture and photography, as well as quirky cafés, but also art workshops and courses for all ages.
This up and coming neighbourhood is very popular with families and hip, trendy types. There are some excellent schools and medical facilities in the area and close by, and it’s in close proximity to some of Dubai’s most buzzing areas, with excellent public transport connections.
Villa rentals come up rarely in Al Quoz, but there are a good range of apartments to choose from at extremely reasonable prices, from studios to spacious 3 bedroom apartments.
Expect to pay around 42000 AED (£8500) per year for a 1 bedroom apartment, and upwards of 90000 AED (£18500) for yearly rental of a 3 bedroom apartment.
As they say – it does what it says on the tin. Media city is just that, a neighbourhood created entirely for the purpose of establishing Dubai’s media connections with the rest of the world.
As you would expect this is a creative neighbourhood with a lot going on including theatre performances, concerts, sporting events, food festivals, great restaurants, top class hotels, and much more.
A lot of this activity take place in the enormous purpose built amphitheatre which can hold up to 15000 people.
This is primarily an industrial area, and as such there are not many accommodation options as most people tend to commute here from other areas to work. A studio apartment here costs upwards of 55000 AED (£11400) per annum rental.
Where do you think is the best place to live in Dubai?